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A ‘do no harm’ approach to student assignments on eating disorders

Butterfly Education receives many requests for help with student assignments on eating disorders. 

Student assignments are a fantastic way to raise awareness and increase understanding of the complexity of eating disorders and mental illness. However, detailed research into the symptoms and behaviours associated with eating disorders can be harmful to students. 

Support on setting safe parameters for student assignments and communicating appropriately about eating disorders can be found in the National Eating Disorders Collaboration’s Eating Disorders in Schools: Prevention, Early Identification and Response.

We encourage student assignments to focus on:

  • dispelling myths and misconceptions
  • emphasising the severity of eating disorders as serious mental health conditions
  • explaining the modifiable risk and protective factors
  • promoting understanding and acceptance of people experiencing eating disorders
  • exploring the range of support services
  • encouraging, normalising and promoting helping seeking behaviours

For the safety of all students, we do not recommend assignments which focus on symptoms and behaviours, case studies, interviewing people with eating disorders or those in recovery, or which make specific reference to measurements or volumes. 

For more information about student assignments and our upcoming education workshops, please visit Butterfly Education

Worried about a friend or someone you care about?

It can be extremely difficult raising the subject of eating disorders with a friend or loved one. To be supportive one needs to learn what to say and what not to say.  


We can help you with knowing when to talk to your friend and what to say. ›

Concerned parents & carers

Communicating your concern with your child about eating and dieting behaviour can be extremely difficult. Butterfly offers a range of services that can provide you with skills and information related to communicating with your child.  


We can help you with recognising issues and what to do. ›

Teachers & Professionals Working with Young People

Teachers and those working with young people are often the first to become aware of dis-ordered eating behaviours.  Butterfly Education provides early intervention and prevention skills for professionals working with young people. 

We have a range of advice & resources ›